February 22, 2012
Yzerman wheeling and dealing
By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - When Tampa Bay Lighting general manager Steve Yzerman needed more help to rebuild, he had the name of a good architect.
After doing business with old boss Ken Holland in Detroit, Yzerman had loaded up another high draft pick, the Wings had brought Kyle Quincey back in the fold and the third party, the Colorado Avalanche, were happy at adding some punch with the Lightning’s Steve Downie.
Yzerman, who went into sell mode the past week shedding Pavel Kubina and Dominic Moore, now has two first-rounders and up to four second-rounders this June. With Dwayne Roloson near the end, some of those assets can be used on a goaltender. Yzerman also scored defenceman Sebastien Piche in the deal. He and Holland will likely form the same kind of teacher-pupil favoured status relationship that Brian Burke and Bob Murray have.
Holland, who has shown a few times he doesn’t need first-rounders to mine gold at the draft, gets back a former 132nd pick who was lost on waivers, but developed into a reliable defenceman. Quincey leaving Colorado and Downie going west opens room at both positions on their old clubs. Downie is definitely the kind of player the Avs need in the future if they hope to advance and protect their young talent.
LOU'S FEELING BLUE AGAIN
This is starting to feel like the old days for the Devils, Martin Brodeur a wall in net, size up front, great attention to detail and GM Lou Lamoriello looking to shore up playoff depth on defence.
Lamoriello tends to bulk up his blue line at this time of year, no matter what the Devils’ standing, and his recent deals have included Bryce Salvador, Niclas Havelid, Ken Klee, Brad Lukowich, Richard Smehlik, and Martin Skoula. It’s expected he’ll add to that list in the next few days, though people jumped the gun with Marek Zidlicky going from Minnesota to Jersey, even if he’s pals with Czech mates Petr Sykora and Patrik Elias.
One thing the Devils aren’t looking for right now is a goalie, even though Brodeur turns 40 in May and has yet to commit 100% to returning. His record of 9-3-1 before meeting the Leafs on Tuesday has seen some vintage Brodeur saves.
“I’m having a blast this year,” he said. “We’ll make a decision later on. But it’s looking pretty good like I‘m coming back.”
JACK WON'T DISS JACKETS
Jack Johnson was born in Indiana and played college hockey at Michigan, two states that border Ohio. But the Kings defenceman had to shush a rumour that he wanted no part of a trade to the last-place Columbus Blue Jackets.
“People have said I said stuff like that with other teams,” Johnson told the Los Angeles Times.
Johnson went on to say he’s grown used to hearing his name in trade talks with no adverse effects
OTT MAN OUT?
No one likes to play against Dallas Stars’ 1,000 penalty minute man Steve Ott. But if the Stars don’t make the playoffs, no one will have to worry about stopping in Texas. Thus, the interest in getting Ott to a solid contender by Monday. ESPN.com reports that last week’s rumblings on offers for Ott are genuine.
“It obviously makes you a little nervous,” Ott said. “I’ve been with the Stars since I was drafted (in 2000). When your name gets mentioned in the rumours, it gets to you a little and you think about it. But truthfully, I do take it as a huge compliment. Obviously if there are playoff contending teams that think I’m a puzzle piece, I take that as a compliment. But I want to stay here. I want to be part of the solution.
Mike Ribeiro, who has been in Dallas about the same time as Ott, has also had his tires kicked, but has a limited no-trade clause allowing him to veto up to 10 teams.
Columbus GM Scott Howson remains coy on the Rick Nash trade banter. “We’re getting closer, but we’re not there yet,” he told the Columbus Dispatch ... Carolina’s 5-0 win over Washington on Monday, which moved them within seven points of a playoff spot, has not altered management’s impatience with Tuomo Ruutu. TSN reports GM Jim Rutherford has set a Wednesday deadline to hear from the abrasive forward about the Canes’ last offer, otherwise he’s likely back in trade play ... With the possibility of having set goaltending rather than holding their breath every time Rick DiPietro goes down, the Isles are hoping to get Evgeni Nabokov under contract for up to two years, according to the New York Times ... Devils’ new third liner Alexei Ponikarovsky has now played for five teams in less than two years, twice signing as a free agent and thrice getting traded. His advice to those feeling the trade heat the next few days? “You just have to react to it, go to the next team and play as hard as you can.”